Deer Park used to be referred to by the First Nations people as “Mashquoteh”, which is Ojibway for meadow or woodland where deer come to feed. In 1795 Lt Governor Simcoe instructed the Deputy Provincial Surveyor to open a cart road from York Harbour to Lake Simcoe. This Yonge Street – was completed in 1796.
In 1802, 40 acres, north west corner of the cart road, and St. Clair Avenue West (then the third Concession Road), was granted to Frederick Baron de Hoen. Eight years later, before he left for Baden, Germany, he sold the property to Mary Elmsley, the widow of the Chief Justice. In 1837, Agnes Heath, widow of Col. Charles Heath of the Honourable East India Company Service, relocates from India to Canada with her children and purchases the property and appropriately names it Deer Park.
View of Deer Park (Lawton Park & Christ Church, 1878)
In 1846 Agnes Heath sells the property to her son Charles Wallace Heath who has the property subdivided into 33 lots.
By the 1850’s the Deer Park area had grown to include a handful of country villas, a general store, a school, a cemetery, a race track, and a hotel that was located at the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair. Patrons at the Deer Park Hotel used to delight in feeding the deer that roamed on the hotel grounds.
In 1891 Upper Canada College moved from its urban location to the then still rural Deer Park area, establishing a large campus that remains in the same location today, interrupting Avenue Road north of St. Clair Avenue.
The deer were long gone by the time Deer Park was annexed to the City of Toronto in 1908. Deer Park filled in very quickly after annexation. By the 1930’s the Deer Park neighbourhood was established as one of Toronto’s finest residential districts.